Book of the Week : BBC Radio 4 FM : August 12, 2016 09:45AM-10:00AM BST
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Lauren Elkin recalls 'Jinx Allen' and Ruth Orkin in Florence. Then it is back to New York.
🔗 This summer holiday with four stories in the sight of
🔗 Mr Darwin is not rocks is it.
🔗 If you don't have the local customs
🔗 or perhaps even enjoy a holiday romance.
🔗 It's about time a girlfriend and wherever you go. This summer.
🔗 Remember to download
🔗 and take with you the best dramas under readings from discover what's on offer
🔗 and how to download on the B.B.C. Radio four website.
🔗 As a choice listing for you now on one minute long wave and a B digital radio.
🔗 It's time for the daily service which is at this morning by Martin Atkins.
🔗 Here on Radio four F.M.
🔗 A week of urban walking continues with our book of the week as its author.
🔗 Lauren Elkins examines how cities are best seen on foot
🔗 and how women have historically traveled this way in.
🔗 Women who walk the city's
🔗 of the most famous images of a woman walking presents
🔗 the meaning of which no one can agree a young woman
🔗 walks down the street and for it.
🔗 Clutching her scarf to a chest on the street surrounding her are fourteen men at
🔗 least eight are looking at her one man block her path hands in his pockets.
🔗 A man to her right has a contorted face
🔗 and appears to be grabbing his crotch mitts step she wears a look on her face
🔗 that suggests concern apprehension.
🔗 It seems as if she's already gearing up to go around.
🔗 The man standing stock still in front of her. Surely it's too easy.
🔗 It's a moment of mid century street harassment look at what women have to deal with
🔗 when they walk in public.
🔗 But this is not what the girl in the photograph says was happening interviewed
🔗 by N.B.C.'s Today Show in two thousand
🔗 and eleven on the sixtieth anniversary of the photograph.
🔗 She said it's not a symbol of harassment.
🔗 It's a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time for it
🔗 turns out the woman whose real name is Nina Lee Craik
🔗 but who called herself jinx Allen
🔗 and went on to marry a Venetian count with American twenty three years old
🔗 and traveling abroad in France Spain and Italy by herself.
🔗 The photographer Ruth Orcon was also an American woman in her twenty's.
🔗 Travelling around on her own living hand to mouth but loving every minute of it.
🔗 The photo was taken during a day of horsing around the city with a camera.
🔗 With Orcon taking pictures of jinx taking in the sights asking questions haggling
🔗 over prices
🔗 and flirting in cafes the scarf was a bright orange Mexican rebozo
🔗 the dress was a tribute to Christian Dior's new look.
🔗 The handbag was a horse's feed bag for Craig
🔗 and Morgan the thing to take away from the photo is to do with independence
🔗 and inspiration.
🔗 About playing with codes with clothing with the ways a woman was expected to be
🔗 or behave that horsing around silliness and fun that Craig
🔗 and or can. Claim show us
🔗 that space is ours for the remaking at twenty five
🔗 my life was as neatly mapped out as the avenues and streets of New York up
🔗 and down and left and right.
🔗 How can you wander on a grid college career
🔗 marriage house baby repeat cycle with next generation
🔗 my live in boyfriend a real estate developer bought a car
🔗 that was the beginning of the end for us.
🔗 He wanted to speed into the future at sixty mph. I wanted to walk there.
🔗 I thought.
🔗 With the moral resolution or perhaps the affected maturity of the very young
🔗 that because we lived together.
🔗 I had to stay my choices narrowed to the width of the passenger seat in his car.
🔗 And finally I couldn't take it anymore. I moved to Paris.
🔗 Like I was letting myself out.
🔗 Out into the night air nearly a decade after I moved to
🔗 Paris. I had absolutely no idea where I would be the next year
🔗 or the year after
🔗 or in five years a number of events coincided to make me wonder whether I had a
🔗 future in France. I had seen my request for citizenship turned down.
🔗 My engagement to collapsed.
🔗 My right to work was revoked at the end of my student visa so my employer couldn't
🔗 keep me on and I'd learn this too late to apply for another teaching job.
🔗 I made an appointment at the French consulate in New York
🔗 and hoped they would be able to help me sort something out traveling to Paris from
🔗 London two weeks before my appointment.
🔗 I was stopped by a French customs agent in St Pancras.
🔗 Why do you want to come to our country. He demanded.
🔗 I live there. I answered.
🔗 Your country is my country sort of.
🔗 Where's your visa expired two weeks ago. I have an appointment to return.
🔗 You can't come in if you don't have a visa.
🔗 I guess I'm coming in on a tourist visa. But if you live in France.
🔗 You're not a tourist. Well. So you live in France illegally.
🔗 No I have never lived in France illegally come with me please.
🔗 He assured me into a back office where he went through my luggage
🔗 and looked through the files on my computer I showed him my last visa my airplane
🔗 ticket to New York.
🔗 The email confirming my appointment to renew my be set the consulate.
🔗 I said I had a French doctorate and it taught in the French universities.
🔗 I told him how my naturalization request had been turned down because I didn't make
🔗 enough money. Although I had done well in my citizenship interview.
🔗 Eventually someone on the phone told him to let me get on the train.
🔗 And he indicated I could pack up my suitcase fighting tears.
🔗 I asked him why he had put me through all that he shrugged.
🔗 Well you know it's hard for us to come to your country too
🔗 after that New York seemed like a haven.
🔗 Maybe it was time to move back home exhausted doubtful
🔗 and jobless. I went to New York for six weeks to take stock of the situation.
🔗 Only to find
🔗 that my own city had become unrecognizable to me Manhattan was crawling with
🔗 bankers and their toddlers.
🔗 Brooklyn was overrun with yep e's and their toddlers
🔗 and the twenty somethings you see on the H.B.O. Series Girls.
🔗 It was as if there were two speeds of life in New York married
🔗 or very very young I didn't know where to insert myself
🔗 one Friday night in December I agreed to meet some friends at a restaurant in
🔗 Brooklyn Heights without an American phone plan.
🔗 I had no Google Maps to rely on so before I left the house I sketched a rudimentary
🔗 map of the area in a notebook.
🔗 I arrived early thinking I'd walk around a bit before I met my friend
🔗 when I got off at York street the sky already dark at five thirty P.M.
🔗 Brooklyn looked nothing like its reputation.
🔗 Where were the cobblestone streets. The shops selling vintage clothing.
🔗 And the free trade coffee with Priest is drawing flowers in the foam.
🔗 I saw only an immense parking garage chain link fences
🔗 and towering apartment blocks.
🔗 I made a few turns and found myself down some badly lit street.
🔗 The buildings looked new
🔗 but boxy a bit raw A man walked towards me
🔗 wearing a willing cap friend
🔗 or foe the cold December share turned tent the way it does for two
🔗 strangers in a deserted street.
🔗 Finally I reached Hudson Avenue which had the cobble stones as well as a
🔗 few shop fronts and a mix of older brick buildings
🔗 and newer houses with aluminum siding inside the restaurant.
🔗 It was warm with flattering light
🔗 and brick walls the kind of place you could find in Paris or London.
🔗 Or New York and think. This is so Paris. So London so New York.
🔗 So urban That is the kind of place where you know exactly what the food will be
🔗 like and what kind of evening you'll have there.
🔗 I climbed up onto a bar stool to wait for my friend.
🔗 Ordered a glass of New Zealand Chardonnay. And cracked open.
🔗 Rebecca So now it's a field guide to getting lost the word lost
🔗 soul not right.
🔗 Comes from the Old Norse Los meaning the disbanding of an army
🔗 and this origin.
🔗 Suggests soldiers falling out of formation to go home a truce with the wide world
🔗 never to get lost.
🔗 She says is not to live not to know how to get lost brings you
🔗 to destruction
🔗 and so after years of getting lost in strange European cities
🔗 here I was lost in my own I have relatives
🔗 who ask me every time I see them.
🔗 when you come home as if I were some errant member of the family flock not
🔗 one of so nits old
🔗 nor soldiers who's fallen out of formation to return home to his family
🔗 my mother says as long as you're happy
🔗 she's the only one who doesn't make it about belonging.
🔗 But being there was a whole world out there
🔗 and I didn't have to live in America simply because I was born there.
🔗 I could live anywhere I liked and I liked living in France.
🔗 I could make my own choices there and make a life for myself in a context
🔗 that was mine alone. In August two thousand and fifteen.
🔗 I got an email from my lawyer telling me my request for French citizenship had been
🔗 approved. After a lesson in years of jumping from VSA to Vista
🔗 and two refusals.
🔗 He finally said yes you can stay having
🔗 left New York has helped me see a new on route to the city on board the Long Island
🔗 Railroad. I've been learning to love him just your palette of the mix of suburbs
🔗 and city it passes through the back end of superstores trucks loaded with
🔗 slabs of wood trees two story brick estates coffee cups
🔗 littering the carpet of fallen red leaves Farmingdale a plastic bag
🔗 tangled in branches neocolonial two story buildings with fake clapboard siding
🔗 pine trees manicured to look like Tuscany.
🔗 If you can't live in Italy where your own Bethpage Hicksville
🔗 Mineola Jamaica the pseudo countryside becomes the
🔗 Red sheds top buildings defended with coiled barbed wire piles of garbage
🔗 terraced houses with tiny backyards satellite dishes point at the sky
🔗 tunnels. Ten story buildings fire escapes.
🔗 The architecture of the tenement tooter facades if you can't live in tutor England
🔗 Britain you do twenty story buildings.
🔗 Cars parked on roofs thirty story buildings would Side Car Wash
🔗 milestone kitchen and.
🔗 Back corporation spokes of the bridge is my grandfather's build my chest take steel
🔗 skyline Art Deco sharp next stop Penn Station.
🔗 This is me.
🔗 This is me out there.
🔗 Jennings was reading from Fleming as women who walk the city's buy learn Elkan
🔗 which has been abridged for radio by Penny lister the series producer was Duncan
🔗 Ria twenty six to the Olympic Games.
🔗 The Greatest Show want to live on B.B.C. T.V.
🔗 and Radio five Live and choose from up to two.